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Saturday 27 February 2021
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Rail passenger numbers were hit harder than other public transport during lockdown

Passenger journeys on rail services dropped to a low of 24,000 a week at the start of April.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

RAIL TRANSPORT WAS hit harder in terms of passenger numbers during lockdown than other forms of public transport around the country.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have indicated that Covid-19 restrictions had a more significant impact on rail journeys than on bus or Luas trips.

In the first three weeks of March, an average of 809,000 trips were taken by rail around Ireland each week.

Rail travel dropped by 85% between the weeks commencing 15 March and 22 March, from 659,000 journeys to just 97,000.

Between the same two weeks, passenger journeys by public transport overall dropped by 50%, from 1,751,000 to 874,000.

Rail journeys further dropped to 26,427 the following week and reached a low of 24,019 in the week of 5 April.

Passenger journeys on rail services was restored to just over 100,000 at the end of May, and 275,425 journeys were taken by rail in the week commencing 12 July – one-third of the average number of weekly rail journeys that were taken prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 in Ireland.

Data on rail travel includes passenger journeys on Intercity and Dart services.

“It is worth noting that the number of journeys taken on public transport is not recovering at the same rate as road traffic volumes. Rail continues to be the most severely affected mode of public transport,” the CSO stated.

Irish Rail is advising passengers to only travel if their journey is “absolutely essential”.

Passenger trips on the Luas dropped from 914,000 in the first week of March to under 100,000 trips a week between the weeks of 30 March and 18 May.

Luas journeys hit a low in the middle of April, with 49,000 trips taken in the week of 13 April compared to 842,000 in the same week in 2019.

Trips on the green Luas line were impacted slightly more than trips on the red line.

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The CSO found that overall, the “pace of recovery of road traffic volumes for cars and HGVs to pre Covid-19 levels continues to outstrip that of public transport passenger numbers”.

The volume of cars on roads around Ireland was over 70% lower than in 2019 from 29 March to 2 May.

Car traffic has increased as restrictions have eased, but has not yet returned to 2019 levels, the CSO found.

The impact of Covid-19 restrictions on HGC traffic was not as significant as the impact on cars. HGV traffic in Dublin has risen above 2019 levels since 21 June, and in some regional locations since 28 June.

The number of passengers who have travelled through airports around Ireland during the first half of 2020 is 66.1% lower than during the same period in 2019.

Between April and June 2020. the number of passengers across airports fell by 98.4% compared to last year, from over 10 million to 164,000.

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